Monday, December 31, 2012

Goals for 2013

Things have been quiet around here for a while. I'm still figuring out this whole business of mothering three small children, we've been out of town visiting my family for Christmas (we'll head home next week), and I've been working on another project (to be announced soon!)--so I've been distracted.

But, I just love January 1. I love the opportunity to start afresh. Right after the start of this year, I got pregnant with Joshua--so I only ended up completing a couple of my goals for this year. That's just fine though--I got a precious baby out of the deal. :)

As this year comes to a close I've naturally been thinking about next year and I've spent some time over the last week thinking about and settling on some goals for the coming year. The basic process I follow is this:
1. Think through my priorities. During this season of life my goals revolve around my husband, our children, our home, and my own health and well-being (not in a selfish way--but keeping myself healthy helps me to better care for my family)--and the intent of all my goals is ultimately the glory of God in my life.
2. Decide what needs to improve in each area. Once I listed my priorities, I made a list for each one of things I'd like to focus on.
3. Narrow it down. Reality: I have three children under the age of four, including a breastfeeding baby. I work from home 10-ish hours per week. I make the vast majority of the food we eat from scratch. I do not have a moment to waste. I don't have time for everything I'd like to do in theory--so narrowing my list down to the most important items is key.
4. Consult my husband. I am so thankful for Ben's leadership in my life. Once I had my list written out, I talked through it with him to get his input before "finalizing" everything.

 With that, here are my goals for 2013:

::Read through the Bible
::Memorize Psalm 119
::Lose my remaining baby weight plus 14 pounds by the end of October
::Upload/organize photos each month and make a family photo book at the end of the year
::Go through 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life each quarter
::Complete Family Herbalist Course, begin Certified Holistic Wellness Professional course
::Launch my new website (more soon!)
::Have bi-monthly at-home "dates" with Ben
::Have a monthly "business meeting" with Ben 
::Enter the Trinity Foundation essay contest
::Start Kindergarten with Katie
::Teach Katie 40 new catechism questions
::Teach Benjamin 10 catechism questions
::Work with Katie to learn one new chore each month
::Work with Benjamin to learn one new chore each quarter

Happy 2013 you all! What are your goals for the year?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Top 10 Newborn Daze Survival Tips

 My newest little man is coming up on 2 months. Already! It doesn't seem like that long ago we were waiting for him to come, but at the same time, now that he's been here a while, it's hard to imagine that he ever wasn't!

Life with a newborn is so beautiful, but certainly comes with its own set of challenges. I definitely don't feel like a veteran mama (and if you saw my texts to my midwife the first week of Joshua's life, you might agree! ha!), but I guess according to statistics, I've had a newborn more times than most women in America ever will. Here are my best tips for surviving the newborn daze.

1. Let things go. Seriously. It's okay to use paper plates. It won't be the end of the world if your floor doesn't get vacuumed and no one will do a white glove inspection to see if you dusted. You won't have time for much when you have a newborn. Life will be easier if you accept that, and focus on recovering from birth and enjoying your baby!

2. Rest when you can. If you're feeling tired and you have the opportunity to take a nap, drop whatever you're doing and take one. When you only slept three hours during the night in five different spurts (okay, that's--thankfully--an exaggeration), even a short nap can do wonders.

3. Nurse, nurse, nurse. In the early days and weeks of breastfeeding, don't worry about scheduling your baby at all (unless he is going too long between feedings). Nurse whenever your baby wants and for however long he will stay at the breast. Breastfeeding helps your uterus contract back into shape, and nursing a lot will help establish a good latch and milk supply.

4. Have good nursing supplies. My top most important item early on is my nursing pillow . In the early days it's great for keeping Baby in position when you're working on his latch. Later on, it's still helpful in lifting Baby up so you don't hurt your back from poor posture while nursing. Also helpful are lanolin for sore nipples, a good nursing cover for when you head back out into the world (or for when someone stops by), and some burp cloths (I use old pre-fold cloth diapers).*Edit*: As a commenter mentioned, add nursing pads to the list!

5. Have some new fun things on hand for older children. While you should definitely include them in your baby tasks when you can, having a new toy or DVD to pull out when you need them to be occupied for a moment can be invaluable.

6. Stock your freezer before Baby comes. I've never done this before this time and now I'm wondering why. It has been amaaaazing to have meals at-the-ready. Maybe this should be #1.

7. Accept help. Don't be embarrassed about your mess. If someone offers to help, take them up on it. And if no one offers to help, consider hiring a young lady from your church to come by and work a few hours as a mother's helper if your budget will allow. Some extra help can make such a huge difference.

8. Sleep with your baby. Having your baby in bed with you can help you to get better rest. You don't have to wake up all the way for those nighttime feedings or worry about falling asleep while Baby is nursing. We didn't do this with Katie but have with both boys and I've been so much more rested during the day. If you decide to co-sleep, make sure to do it safely. After the first few weeks, I suggest trying to start Baby off in his own bed and bring him into bed when he wakes up for his first middle-of-the-night feeding. This ensures some alone time for you and your husband.

9. Take time to talk with friends. If you're like me, you don't get out as much when you have a new baby. When your entire world, 24/7, revolves around someone who can't talk, it can be so refreshing to take some time to visit with a friend. Invite someone to stop by for a cup of tea or give her a call just to chat.

10. Don't forget about your husband. If your husband is anything like mine, he goes far above and beyond in helping after you have a baby. He works all day and then comes home and helps with the cleaning and the kiddos until things are picked up and everyone's down for the night--and he does it even though he's not getting great rest at night either. Try to make sure to carve out a few minutes for some one-on-one time even in the early weeks. It will be good for both of you.

What about y'all? What are your best tips for thriving during the newborn daze?

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.